In the heart of Eagles territory lives one of Jason Witten's biggest admirers. Archbishop Wood's (Warminster, Pa.) Colin Thompson aims to model his game after the former Tennessee standout and perennial Pro Bowler for the Dallas Cowboys. So far, the No. 1 tight end in the nation and Florida commit is doing a convincing impression of his favorite player. Both off the field and on it, the 6-foot-4, 255-pound Thompson aspires to be a complete player and person.
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ESPNHS: After a close loss to open the season, your team reeled off 14-straight wins on the way to the school's first PIAA AAA state title. What did that early loss teach your team?
Thompson: It wouldn’t feel so good to be at the top if you didn’t go through some adversity first. We had some hard times together. Times when you would look at yourself in the mirror and say I don’t know if I could have worked any harder but the results weren’t where you wanted them. Last season was really tough to accept but the loss this year didn't deter us from our ultimate goal. We had been working for years to get a title and we stuck with it and we’ll always remember that we went out on top.
ESPNHS: What advice would you give to a younger tight end looking to develop a complete game as both an effective blocker and capable receiver?
Thompson: Just want it. You have to want to do all the things the position demands. There are a lot of guys who don’t want to stick their head in there and go nose-to-nose, because that’s what it takes in blocking. A lot of it is technique, and it always will be on any level, but it’s also about toughness and a desire to do it. Get some extra time in with your position coaches; I know that I learned a great deal from my offensive line coach.
As a receiver, you really have to put the extra time in with your quarterback to develop that chemistry and timing. You have to become that reliable target for your QB and catch everything that comes your way, because you might not get all the attention being a tight end, but you have to be there when called on.
ESPNHS: Is there a college or pro tight end that you admire?
Thompson: My favorite athlete on the earth is Jason Witten. I like to replicate my game around his. It’s starting to become “Gronk” from the Patriots, but he hasn’t paid his dues just yet. Witten has been doing it for years and just always battles. No matter the ups and downs his team has gone through he's always a reliable target and great blocker. He does great work in the community, hosts football camps in Tennessee. On the field and off of it, I think he’s a great leader to model myself after.
Top Movies: The Lincoln Lawyer & Never Back Down
Top Song: “Lay Me Down” by Dirty Heads
TV Show: Storage Wars
Team: Philadelphia Flyers